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Sir Jim Ratcliffe has described the UK’s energy policy as “absurd” in his latest criticism of the country’s business climate.
The billionaire owner of Ineos Chemical Group accused the British government of ignoring scientists by banning fracking and stifling investment in North Sea oil and gas through a windfall tax.
“Whether we like it or not, we cannot survive without hydrocarbons as they are 85 per cent of our energy base in the UK,” he said. Government data put the figure at 75 percent.
“Energy policy is complex, but it is not rocket science [ . . .] You can’t power the whole of the UK on wind.
By contrast, he said, the U.S. got “much of it right” in terms of energy policy, keeping prices low — even by exploiting its own resources.
“Having competitive energy is very important if you guys want to continue to invest in your manufacturing base,” he added.
Ratcliffe, who also confirmed he is still in the running to buy Manchester United, was speaking at an event in London to promote a new book about Enos — Grit, toughness and humor – To mark the company’s 25th anniversary.
And this week it accused British regulator the Competition and Markets Authority of becoming “increasingly hostile to business” after blocking Enos’ deal to buy Swiss company Sika’s concrete additives business.
“Its attitude is reflected in the lack of government support for manufacturing; whether in a review like this, or in our anti-competitive approach to energy policy,” he said on Tuesday.
Ratcliffe founded Ineos in 1998 with co-owners Andy Currie and John Rees, snapping up assets from BP, ICI and others to grow it into the world’s largest chemicals business.
It also owns oil and gasfields in the North Sea and in the US, and invested heavily in trying to develop fracking in Britain before the process was banned in 2019 due to concerns about earthquake risks.
The group has expanded into consumer-facing businesses in recent years, such as developing the off-road Grenadier 4×4 vehicle, and buying football club OGC Nice, and clothing brand Belstaff, among other sporting interests.
Enos is now competing with Qatari businessman Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad Al-Thani to buy Manchester United from the Glazer family.
“There is still a process; We are in the process,” Ratcliffe said Wednesday. “But at the end of the day it’s their decision.
“We still want to do it and we’ll do it for the right reasons.”